Best Ways to Stay Safe Online in 2022
The internet as we know it is a world of opportunities. These opportunities are boundless and can change your fortune many times over. However, there are also risks involved and these can turn any fortune you have amassed on its head. Ultimately, it is a matter of security. So, between using the internet for its intended purpose and building a garrison against online hackers, scams and malware, there is much that you can do.
As a matter of fact, using the internet without opening oneself to online predators is an easy thing. Provided that you keep a cool head and follow the tips outlined in this article, you will be fine.
- Improve your network security
Networks are to the internet what transport means are to roads—you use them to navigate internet domains. So, the sturdier your car, for example, the lower the risk of highway robbers intercepting you. This is similar to how your network works. As long as your network is secure, you stand a very minute chance of someone breaking into your computer virtually without your authorization.
You can employ different methods to improve your network security. The most popular method is the use of a virtual private network (VPN). Using software like this helps guard your internet connections and could even shield you from hackers.
You should also use firewalls. These barriers are directly equipped with code to block off illegal attempts to pry into your computer. Combining VPNs with firewalls will significantly boost your network security and provide enough safety to surf the web with minimal anxiety.
- Leverage anti-malware apps
Like VPNs and firewalls that are native to your operating system, there are also a number of apps specially designed to fight off malware. Malware, if you don’t already know, consists of programs that were developed to cause you trouble. They could damage your computer, steal confidential data (they usually target bank details), and become a source of annoyance. Anti-malware apps, as you can tell from the name, nullify the activities of malware.
There are many anti-malware apps you can use. However, you have to be careful as some of these apps may hide malware of their own. In deciding on any anti-malware software, look for one that detects malicious programs before they run on your computer. Also, use one that is compatible with your computer’s default anti-virus.
Auslogics Anti-Malware is a good option. It is user-friendly and will not allow any malicious program to get into your computer or corrupt it.
- Use strong passwords
Passwords are important. As confident as you can be regarding the security of your network, there is still a slim chance of hackers getting access to your online accounts. How do you keep these hackers out then? Passwords!
Passwords are like gatekeepers. When your passwords are very strong, you give hackers the impossible task of taking over your accounts. This is why password development software is becoming more and more popular. Therefore, you must use strong passwords.
What constitutes a strong password? Opinions differ. Even so, you don’t need a professor’s degree to come up with something difficult as your password. As many websites would suggest to you, use a mixture of capital and small letters, as well as non-alphabetic characters like # and %. Imagine a hacker faced with a password like ‘#%Jo@Nathan*#.’ How many permutations would they need to run before guessing this password? Compare it with ‘Jonathan’ as a password.
So, use passwords that are difficult to guess and you are one step closer to erecting a Wall of China around your online accounts.
- Keep your apps updated
It is easy to forget that your company that manufactured your computer has its own interests. Naturally, none of these computers want a bad name. Therefore, they provide as much security as they can, especially with apps that require an internet connection. You have to take advantage of this, seeing as these companies are much more informed than you are about factors that could compromise your security.
One way to leverage the goodwill of your computer’s manufacturers is to keep your apps updated. This will ensure that your software packages are fitted with security measures to fend off malicious activity and monitoring. So, make this a frequent practice. This means that you have to pay attention to your computer’s app store and approve updates that are licensed by the manufacturers.
- Watch what you click
While there are hackers who use advanced programming to target you and wreck your computer or virtual life, many hackers are simply interested in scamming you. These ones usually have negligible programming proficiency and are better marketers. They provide you with a multitude of links that they invite you to click to get mouth-watering prizes. This is why you have to watch what you click.
Fraudulent practices originate from these links. They might even impersonate an institution you know and ask for your details. The good thing is that such links and scams are easy to recognize. Clicking them regardless is the same as handing over your neck to the butcher. So, be careful.
- Use privacy settings
User monitoring is one of the most common ways your online security is compromised. Although most companies do not set out to use your online tracks for malicious purposes, this information can provide a big help to hackers and scammers. This is why it is advisable that you enable privacy settings on your browsers.
When you shop online, make sure to veil your tracks with these privacy settings. There are several web browsers that are designed to do this without your prompting. Check these web browsers out and choose one that you find suitable.
As a side note, if you are not actively browsing, chatting or downloading something, disconnect your computer from the network. Airplane Mode is your friend in this context.
- Limit the volume of personal information you share online
Once you have shared your personal information online, you have essentially raised a beacon to hackers and others with malicious intent. You are telling them to hurry up and attack you. It is as simple as that. Therefore, you have to limit the kind and volume of personal information you share online.
Admittedly, in the present day of social media and the anticipated meta revolution, this is not so easy to do. Even so, you have to realize that hackers will not break their heads over what is not available. So, keep personal information like your date of birth, credit card details, transport routes, etc. to yourself.
- Stay away from free Wi-Fi
Remember our analogy about transportation? Free Wi-Fi networks are like cabs that you borrow for your needs. Consequently, the control you have over security is significantly limited.
Try as much as you can, therefore, to stay away from free Wi-Fi. If you have to use them, mind the information you send online. Also, enable privacy settings. These reduce the risk of online insecurity, but the risks remain. So, if you can, avoid public—and often free—Wi-Fi.
- Be wary of websites
When you visit websites, do you get a notification that says that hackers and scammers are on your tail? If not, you have to keep your guard up when you visit websites. This is especially important if you have to buy or sell something on said website, or you are required to enter in personal information such as your financial details before accessing a service.
Generally, websites that are safe to use have a padlock symbol on the address line. The symbol shows that the website is encrypted and reasonably trustworthy. Even so, it is safer to be suspicious of every website. The fact is that any website can become a tool that could be used against you.
- Keep an eye out for trending scams and malware
Keep an eye out for trending scams. Where complex passwords and privacy settings may fail, knowing what scam is trending at the moment can save you from a world of hurt. This is not a difficult thing to do as there are many sites that report such issues.
Thus, familiarizing yourself with the most recent malware, scam, or any other malicious activity or actor is a safe bet against them. So, stay informed and you will not be caught unawares.
Overall, these are some of the best ways to stay safe online in 2022. As long as you keep to these tips, you can leverage the powerful tool that is the internet and cast off the fear of hackers.